PROCAS Software Update & Happy Holidays! author avatar

We are excited to bring you some long-awaited news of the PROCAS Accounting upgrade! Our entire team has been very busy this year working on the development of the upgraded accounting software. We are grateful for the many clients that agreed to jump on board early and help us improve the usability and functionality of the software before a general release.

The upgraded version, while closely based on the existing version that you are used to, is accessed directly from a web browser. Since it is web-based, the user interface is quite different than what you are currently familiar with. We also have the flexibility to improve how things work and to continuously add new features and functions.

 

Upgrade Logistics

We are slowly transitioning our clients to make sure everyone gets one-on-one time with a consultant to help get acclimated to the new user interface and many of the new features. Part of the transition includes an import of all your existing data into the new system. This means that you will maintain all the general ledger transaction, invoice history, and setup details that you have now. This also means that you can transition during any time of the year, regardless of where you are in the accounting cycle.

By the way, there is no added cost to upgrade—not even the time spent with your consultant! We want all our clients to enjoy the new software without an unplanned hit to their bottom line.

Our transition schedule is full through the end of this year, and we are looking to start adding clients to the list for 2020. If you are interested in a demo to learn about new features, or how to get on the transition wait list for 2020, send us an email at feedback@procas.com.

 

From all of us at PROCAS, we would like to wish you a wonderful holiday season!

We look forward to hearing from you and working with you soon!

- The PROCAS Team

 

Indirect Rate Calculation Setup – Mysteries Unveiled author avatar

Have you ever wondered how to set up your indirect rate structure in PROCAS? The good news is, if you’re a new contractor, and you don’t have a rate structure yet, the system already has a default setup that works for most of our clients. It’s a standard 3-tiered structure with (1) fringe, (2) overhead applied to direct labor plus fringe, and (3) G&A.

If you are more experienced, you may want to make changes to your rate structure from one year to the next but don’t know what options to pick in the system. One nice thing about how it works in PROCAS is that it is easy to use our ‘point and click’ setup to make changes and then test the calculation.

There are 2 basic setup elements the system needs to calculate the rates—(1) selections on the Rate Calculation Setup form and (2) the Cost Pool assigned to each expense account in the Chart of Accounts. Generally, your selections determine how many rates you have, what intermediate rate allocations are made, and what makes up the bases for each rate. Every expense account you use is assigned to a cost pool on the Chart of Accounts form. The Cost Pool assigned determines what type of expenses is being accumulated in that account.

Since the default chart of accounts already has appropriate cost pools established for each expense account, I will focus on the options on the Rate Calculation Setup form.

Rate Calculation Setup form – Tab 1:

Establishes defaults used when calculating rates.

Date Range – we recommend selecting Accounting Year since you must calculate your indirect rates for the accounting year-to-date for DCAA compliance. Management may want to see rates by Accounting Period but that should be for internal purposes only.

Costs to include in Pools – we suggest using Allowable Only as your default. This selection will exclude unallowable costs from the pools for calculating your claimed rates. When Allowable & Unallowable is selected, you are calculating your full rates which include all your costs. While you need to know your full rate to make informed business decisions, you cannot claim your full rate for reimbursement from the government.

Transactions to include – using Posted & Unposted transactions as your default will ensure everything recorded in the general ledger is included when you calculate your rates. Choosing Posted Only will ignore any transactions that are not posted within the period and could be misleading.

Rate Calculation Setup form – Tab 2:

Determines how many rates you have for each cost pool.

We always recommend keeping your rate structure as simple as you possibly can, for as long as you can. Using all consolidated rates means you have only one rate per cost pool. However, at some point, you may need to make some changes. This tab gives you the flexibility of establishing rates by division, location, and/or work site, in any combination.

Most often, we see clients moving from a consolidated Overhead rate (pictured above) to Overhead calculated by Site. This allows for more than one overhead rate—typically one for company site and one for client site. Keep in mind, that you will have to track your costs at whatever level you select. Since switching to a 2 Overhead rate structure is common, we start our clients off on day one by tracking direct and overhead expenses by company site (e.g., 100 cost center) and client site (e.g., 105 cost center). This makes the transition to the 2 Overhead rate structure seamless. All you have to do is select the Site checkbox in the Overhead row and you are ready to go.

Rate Calculation Setup form – Tab 3:

Determines whether you have a dollar or hour/unit base for each cost pool.

Most commonly, we see clients using a $ Base for each cost pool. Using a dollar base is simplest. It does not require any additional work on your part. The system will just need the amounts you’ve already recorded in the general ledger.

However, quite frequently we see Facilities with an Hour/Unit Base. In many cases, it makes sense to use square footage or head count as the base for Facilities rather than dollars. Note that if this is your selection, you will also need a Triggers Journal entry dated the first day of your accounting year, so the system knows how many units to use and how to allocate the office-related costs to Overhead and G&A. We have special accounts already established in the default Chart of Accounts to use for this purpose.

Rate Calculation Setup form – Tab 4:

Determines what pool to put your Material Handling and Subcontract Administration costs in.

In PROCAS, you can track your Material Handling (MH) and Subcontract Administration (SA) costs in your general ledger separately by account while keeping the costs in either the Overhead Pool or G&A Pool for rate calculation purposes. Tracking the costs will provide management with valuable cost information and have you set up to easily transition to a Value-Added G&A rate.

The selections in the screenshot above are a great place to start. Keep the material handling and subcontract administration costs in your G&A pool for now. If you ever need it, you can easily change it.

Rate Calculation Setup form – Tab 5:

Determines what makes up your Facilities base and what to include in your Overhead Pool and Base.

There’s a lot more to the options on this screen so let’s tackle them one at a time.

Facilities

Include Employee Labor in Facilities Base – if selected, productive employee company site labor is your base. If you selected a $ Base on Tab 3, the system will use the total employee labor dollars. If you selected Units/Hours Base, the system will use the total employee labor hours.

Include Contract Labor in Facilities Base – I don’t see this often, but if you have contractors that use your facilities, you can include those labor costs in the base to bear some of the facilities burden. Again, the $ or Units/Hours base selected on Tab 3 is a factor in the calculation.

Include Non Labor Facilities Base in Facilities Base – if selected, you must also have the Units/Hours base selected on Tab 3. This means you are using something like square footage, head count, or some other percentage to allocate the facilities costs to Overhead and G&A. You also must create a Triggers Journal transaction dated the first day of the year to record the unit allocations.

Overhead

Include Fringe Benefits on Direct Labor in Overhead Pool – if selected, you have a 2-tier rate structure—overhead and G&A. Fringe is an intermediate rate and is not stated separately on invoices to your clients.

Include Facilities Costs Related to Direct Costs in Overhead Pool – if selected, the facilities costs allocated to direct company site labor are allocated in the Overhead Pool. This is the most common selection.

Include Direct Labor in Overhead Base – this option should always be selected. Direct labor is the standard overhead base.

Include Contract Labor in Overhead Base – this option is rare, but if you have contractors that use your company’s contract support resources, you can include those labor costs in the base to bear some of the overhead burden.

Include Fringe Benefits on Direct Labor in Overhead Base – this option should be selected if you have a 3-tier rate as described in the beginning of this article. Fringe is stated separately on invoices to your clients and overhead is applied to direct labor plus the allocated fringe. If this option is not selected, you also have a 3-tier rate. Fringe is stated separately on invoices to your clients, but overhead is only applied to the direct labor costs.

Rate Calculation Setup form – Tab 6:

G&A Base options

As you can see in the screenshot above, there are several selections to choose from for your G&A base.

Total Cost Input Base – this is the most common selection. Select this when all your costs (excluding G&A) are the G&A base. What you get with this option is all your direct costs plus the allocated facilities, fringe and overhead costs as your G&A base.

Value Added – No Materials – if your rate structure includes a separate Material Handling rate (Material Handling Pool option is selected on Tab 4), you must select this option. This will exclude the direct materials from the G&A base. Instead, the direct materials are the base for the MH rate.

Value Added – No Subcontracts – if your rate structure includes a separate Subcontract Administration rate (Subcontract Admin. Pool option is selected on Tab 4), you must select this option. This will exclude direct subcontract costs from the G&A base. Instead, the direct subcontract costs are the base for the SA rate.

Total Direct Cost – I can honestly say that I have never seen a client select this option. That doesn’t mean it’s not right. It’s there if you need it. Only direct costs will be your G&A base. This means that you don’t have a separately stated fringe or overhead rate. Basically, everything ends up in the G&A pool with this option.

Direct Labor Base – I have seen this option selected one time in my career. Again, it could make sense in certain circumstances.

The default chart of accounts is already set up with the appropriate Cost Pools for each expense account. This is how the system knows what type of cost each account contains (direct, fringe, facilities, overhead, G&A, material handling, subcontract administration, etc.). That, along with the selections on the Rate Calculation Setup form, informs the system of where each amount goes in the various pools and bases when the rates are calculated.

I cannot stress enough how important it is for DCAA compliance to be consistent with how you accumulate and allocate your costs. The way you bill the government for reimbursement of your direct and indirect costs must match how your rates are calculated. If you are ever unsure of what selections to make, please reach out to one of our PROCAS consultants for help.

How to Resolve Locked Journal Errors author avatar

If you work in the system with multiple users or tend to open several screens at a time you may run into a loop of error messages as you try to add, change, or edit something in a journal. Read on to find out what the messages mean and how to get them to go away so you can continue working (and prevent them from occurring in the future).

Do the following loop of error messages look familiar to you?

 

 

If so, then what’s important is identifying which type of error (out of the two possibilities) you are receiving. To troubleshoot the cause of the error, you should click "OK" on image 1, which then brings you to image 2. From here press the highlighted arrow that is shown on image 2, which will take you to one of the following two screens that provides the reason for your session being locked.

 

Option 1: Record already locked by this session

 

When it reads “Record already locked by this session,” it tells us that you (the user) are trying to edit the same transaction twice. You essentially have locked yourself out. When you are attempting to edit a transaction that is already open, the system doesn’t know where to look.

To resolve:

To get yourself unlocked, you must log out completely by using the start menu at the bottom left hand corner. This is the only way to log off of the server completely (see our previous blog post “How to Properly Log Off the PROCAS Server, and the Benefits of Doing it Properly”). Hitting either of the “X’s” at the top of the screen will not work, as it just disconnects you for the time being. Once you get logged back in, the transaction you were editing may or may not have saved your changes. We have found in most cases that the journal is left how it was, and it may be sitting out of balance.  

 

Option 2: Record already locked by user

 

If it reads “File is locked” then this tells us that a different user has the same transaction open. Line two of the message on image 4 will let you know which user is attempting to edit the same entry.

To resolve:

In this case, logging out wont fix the issue. To get unlocked you will need to have the user listed on the screen close down the window you are trying to access. So in this instance,  I would ask “smartin,” the user listed on image 4, to close the window that is locking me up, as we both shouldn’t be editing the same entry at the same time. Once they have finished what they are doing and have closed their window, you shouldn’t have a problem accessing the journal.

Setting up PROCAS for SCA Employees author avatar

Do you have contracts that require you to pay service employees according to the area wage determinations (AWD) as outlined in the Service Contract Act (SCA)?

OR

Do you have personnel that are paid different hourly rates depending on the work they are doing?

If so, you can use the AWD capabilities in PROCAS to automatically record the proper hourly wage rate as well as fringe benefits per hour.

Here’s how:

1. Add AWD fringe accounts to your Chart of Accounts. (Go to >System, >Accounting, >Chart of Accounts)

You will only need to do this if the SCA employees receive a dollar amount per hour worked for fringe. When the labor journal transaction is recorded, it will add a line with an AWD fringe expense account along with its associated direct task. The cost center for the fringe account must match the cost center of the direct task. So, you will need to add a fringe account for each appropriate cost center.  The chart of accounts in PROCAS includes AWD Fringe Expense accounts 6600000, 6600100, and 6600105 by default. These accounts are used by the system to record the earned fringe expense in the labor journal.

When SCA employees also earn fringe per hour on paid leave hours (i.e., holiday, vacation), you will need to add paid leave accounts for each cost center, as shown in the screenshot below. The reason for this will become evident later on in the setup.

 

2. Add the new fringe accounts to the AWD Fringe Accounts (Go to >System, >Accounting, >AWD Fringe Accounts)

If you added AWD Fringe Expense accounts in step 1, you will need to set up those accounts by department. The system uses the account setup from the AWD Fringe Accounts form to know where to record the fringe expense in the labor journals.

 

3. Add the AWD information to Billing Setup on the appropriate tasks. (Go to >Projects, >Billing Setup)

  • First, locate the task that your SCA employees use to record their time, and then click on Bill Rate by LC/FP Item
  • Next, for each SCA labor category, type in the minimum AWD hourly wage to be paid to the employee in the AWD Base $/Hr. When the system creates the labor journal transaction, it will compare the minimum rate for the labor category in the Billing Setup, to the employee’s hourly pay rate in their Personnel record. The system will use whichever rate is higher to record the amount due to the employee.
  • If you are also paying employees an amount for fringe per hour worked, type in the appropriate fringe dollar amount in the AWD Fringe $/Hr. box for the labor category (see the screenshot below.) When the system creates the labor journal transaction, it will add a line of detail to record the fringe expense to the accounts you set up in Step 2.

 

4. Update employee work authorizations. (Go to >Projects, >Work Authorization by Task)

Setting up the direct work authorization for a SCA charge code is no different than setting one up for a non-SCA charge code. However, if the SCA employees also earn a fringe amount on their paid leave hours, there is a specific setup required for the system to include the fringe earned on those hours in the labor journal transaction.

Notice in the screenshot below, Sarah Porter has a standard direct charge code for task 10003.001.00.105 using the 5000105 account and AA labor category. In addition, Sarah has a paid leave charge code for the same task and labor category. This is where the fringe account you set up in Step 1 is needed. Since the task uses cost center 105, the fringe account also needs cost center 105. So, instead of using the 6100000 account that non-SCA employees use, Sarah will be using the 6100105 account.

 

Here's what Sarah’s timesheet looks like after recording her time to the SCA direct charge code we set up for her. She only needs to record the hours worked.

 

And the screenshot below shows what Sarah’s labor journal transaction looks like. Lines 1 and 2 are for the 88 hours of direct work that Sarah recorded on her timesheet. Note that while her regular pay rate is $10/hour (as highlighted in the header), the system recorded the $12 hourly rate from the AWD information in the billing setup. The system also added the last 2 lines of detail to record the $3.80/hour fringe expense earned for the 88 hours worked and the associated liability. Since the system will record the fringe automatically, there’s no need for Sarah to record her AWD fringe “hours” on her timesheet.

 

Although there are several steps, the AWD setup is not difficult. Once that part is done, then the system will do the rest whether you are creating the labor journal transactions automatically, or manually creating them.

 

Using Hotkeys in PROCAS Accounting author avatar

Do you ever get frustrated navigating through the accounting system with your mouse? Do you despise having to remove your hand from the keyboard to move your cursor while setting up contracts? Do you call PROCAS Support and wonder how they sometimes navigate the accounting system without moving the cursor? If you answered “yes” to any of the above, then this is the post for you!

Menu Selection Hotkeys

To start using hotkeys in the accounting system simply hit the “Alt” button on your keyboard. You will notice that the menu will look a little different now. The “File” menu will be selected by default, and all the menu options will have a letter underlined. This is what the menus will look like before and after hitting the “Alt” button:

By pressing any of the underlined letters on your keyboard, you will open the drop-down for that menu. Notice that the menu items for the drop-down also have letters underlined. By pressing the new underlined letters on your keyboard, you can continue to select more menu options. When you press the letter for a menu item that is not a drop-down menu, you will instead open that screen. Here is what your screen would look like if you hit “Alt”, “S”, and then “J” on your keyboard in that order:

** Note ** You can use the arrow keys to navigate the menus instead of letters if you would prefer.

 

Data Entry Hotkeys/Key Combinations

Hotkeys can also be used within a window to make data entry easier. There is a list of hotkeys on page 25 of the PROCAS Accounting User’s Manual version 3.01, but I am going to go through some of my favorite hotkeys and context for why you might like them. I will use the Billing Setup screen as an example, but these hotkeys can be used elsewhere as well.

Keyboard Shortcuts - PROCAS Users Manual v3.01.pdf (116.80 kb)

 

Honestly, if you are only going to use one hotkey in the accounting system, this is the one to use. If you are searching for a specific billing setup or transaction in the system, you can use this to find what you are looking for faster than sifting through records one by one. What is great about this is that you do not need to know the exact transaction you are looking for.

When searching for a value, you can use “..” as a wildcard if you only know part of what you are looking for. For example, if you are looking for a task under project 10005, but you cannot remember which one it is exactly, you can hit “F5” and type “10005..” into the search box. This will take you to the first record that starts with 10005. This can be used at the other end for finding transactions without typing the full transaction number. For example if you are pulling up L101985, you can hit “F5” and search for “..1985” saving you from typing any letters.

 

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When entering information into Billing Setup, or any screen with multiple tabs, it can feel a little tedious to take your hand off the keyboard and click on the next tab. This key combination takes you to the tab number that you type. This means when you finish filling out tab one of Billing Setup, you can hit “Alt” + “2” and you will be taken to tab two of Billing Setup.

This key combination is especially useful in Billing Setup because you can move back to tab one easily and then use “Page Up” or “Page Down” to move to another task. This is nice if you are modifying the billing setup for multiple tasks at once, or if you simply want to look at the setup on another task quickly.

 

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This key combination copies the previous record into the current box. If you are a fan of Excel then this is not a new shortcut for you. This can save you a lot of time when making entries with multiple lines that have similar information. You are most likely to find this useful when making a payroll entry so that you can copy the account from the previous line or maybe when entering purchase journals to copy the vendor code.

A place that you can use this combination that is not very intuitive is tab one of Billing Setup. On tab one this will copy the value from the billing setup of the previous task. When you are adding a new option year you can possibly copy the rollup and revenue accounts from the old task depending on how you want to set it up. Just be careful not to copy the revenue task.

 

So, you are adjusting the details of several transactions, and you need to click back in the header of the transaction after each adjustment so that you can navigate to the next one. Next time you want to move between the header and footer of a transaction, just hit “F4”. Once you are back in the header you can search for the next entry to be adjusted with “F5”, or use “Page Up” and “Page Down” to locate it manually.

 

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This opens the right-click menu. This might not seem like much, but this means you can hit the down arrow after doing so, and then hit enter to select the “Filter…” option. Filtering is great when you are looking through labor journals for a specific employee or purchase journals for a specific vendor. Just make sure that you DO NOT insert any transactions while you have a field filtered.

 

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You just learned how to filter and inserted a transaction while filtered before reading where I said not to, or maybe you have inserted a duplicate personnel record. Regardless of how you got to where you are, if you need to undo something you just created, use this key combination. This seems to be most useful when you have that coworker down the hall that creates personnel records without telling you, so now you are stuck with a duplicate record error on your screen.

 

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For one reason or another you need to create a manual labor journal transaction. You just want to type in two lines of detail, but first you need to fill out all those fields in the header. Save yourself the trouble, and use this combination to copy the current transaction you are on. Then you can modify data as needed instead of starting from scratch.

 

Popular Menu Keyboard Shortcuts

Here is a short list of some key combinations to open frequently accessed menu items after hitting the “Alt” key:

 

                Menu Item Name                            Key Combination

                Purchases Journal                            AAI

                Advanced Purchases Journal         AAD

                Automated Checks                           AAA

                Billing Setup                                       SJG

                General Journal                                 AGJ

                Receipts Journal                               ASJ

                Triggers Journal                                AGT

 

Show Off Your Skills

Now that you know how to use hotkeys in the system, what better use is there than showing off your skills? Enjoy the convenience as you are now able to save precious seconds while navigating the accounting system. Seriously though, these hotkeys will help you navigate the system much faster and save you a lot of time throughout the day.